Love Is Freedom – Don’t Fence Me In
Question: What do a man’s approach anxiety and a woman’s “failure” to find “Mr. Right” have in common?
When I’ve coached men who were trying to get over approach anxiety, I told them something that I’ve never heard any other coach say. Approach anxiety is not really about approaching. The fear that we may feel in our body when approaching a stranger has almost nothing to do with that particular person or that context. The anxiety is really a conglomeration of all the fears our subconscious mind has about the past and the future.
Your subconscious mind is about 500 steps ahead of the conscious mind, always. So when a man approaches a woman in a bar, he not only fears her “rejection” in that moment … He also fears everything that could happen with that woman in the future, including a “successful” relationship and sex. He fears what other people will think. He fears whether he will be able to perform sexually. He has unconscious programmed “primal” fears in the “reptilian” brain about retaliation from other men. He fears that he will like her more than she likes him, or that she will like him more than he likes her. He may be approaching the wrong women, or for the wrong reasons, due to social pressures. So he may be incongruent and fearful because he’s not acting from his own inner guidance. And the list goes on and on and on … What this means is that you can use approach anxiety as a focus point for clearing lots and lots of emotional issues. In fact, that is the only way really to eliminate approach anxiety permanently. What most coaches teach is how to “overcome” approach anxiety, or how to approach women in spite of anxiety, not how to eliminate it at its roots.
Well, the same principles apply to women. Ultimately, my Holistic Belief Reprogramming system is designed to help us develop such powerful self-awareness that we can start coaching ourselves instead of always relying on someone else to see our blind spots. What we know if we see a man or a woman having a recurring dating or relationship or life problem is that they must have some unconscious fears and patterns that are not being brought to conscious awareness. We need to be really good “detectives” in order to solve these problems.
Sometimes our true desires are buried under so much shame, guilt, and social conditioning, that it can take a while before our detective work uncovers the roots of our problem. We need to ask: when did this problem start, and what was happening in our lives at that time?
This detective work led me to a fascinating discovery about my dating life. My relationships for the most part went pretty well and were pretty “normal” until the day that I decided it was “time” for me to “get married and have kids.” Since then, I’ve pretty much been single, for the most part. Which at times has been extremely frustrating. How can you “want” something so much, something that seems so “easy” for other people, and not have it? And then the ego beats us up even more, and we feel more ashamed, and it gets even worse. Add to that the huge industry focused on finding out what is “wrong” with you if you have not yet gotten married and had kids as a woman … and it’s a pretty heavy burden to bear …
Yes, for many women, and I’ll include myself in this, there is a lot of shame in our society associated with not being married and having kids. So it can be difficult to sift through all the layers of that conditioning to get to the core of what is really happening. Over the past year, doing lots and lots of inner work, I discovered the truth about myself: I don’t actually want to get married and have kids. And that is why I’m not married with children. Plain and simple. I was not being honest with myself about my true desires. The way our society currently conceives of marriage and children is, in my eyes, a prison. Such a huge restriction on freedom that I can’t really even imagine myself doing it without a huge amount of resentment and regret.
That is why I’m not married with children.
As discussed in my recent articles, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. I often tell my clients, “Anything you want with your whole heart you will have. So if you don’t have it yet, you need to find out what part of you does NOT want what you say you want.” Over the past year, when the intensity of care that I needed to give my cat due to his illness was very high, I found myself thinking – “Can you imagine if this were a child, or multiple children, you were trying to take care of in this way?” It was almost unimaginable. All I could see was my life turning into one unending hamster wheel, where no matter how fast I would run, I would always be exhausted, sleep-deprived, and spread way way too thin.
When everything in my life over the past few years has been about simplifying, removing limitations, and increasing my freedom.
How could I “sell” my freedom for that nightmarish vision of 24/7 responsibility and obligation?
Then recently, some of my friends on Facebook who do have children “came clean” about their honest feelings about the experience. And it was exactly what I don’t want. I am deeply grateful for their honesty, because it made it all the more clear to me that I simply CANNOT do “marriage and children” the way our society conceives of it. It has not happened for me because I don’t want it to happen. And I’ve stayed out of relationships for the most part – and even created false “obstacles” and “conflicts” in relationships – because of my (subconscious) fear that any harmonious relationship would ultimately lead straight into that prison. My subconscious mind was 500 steps ahead of my conscious mind, thinking of all the nightmares ahead of me if I continued on that path.
Just like the guy with approach anxiety. He’s not really scared of that woman sitting in front of him. He’s scared about what is going to happen AFTER he approaches that woman. And that is why he “fails.”
Don’t fence me in.
So now that we understand why I have been “sabotaging” relationships for years, what do we do next? Well, first, we understand that marriage and children would need to be radically transformed in order to be enjoyable for me. That gives us a LOT of tapping to do in those areas.
Meanwhile, we can address the freedom issues now. And that’s where we come to “Living Without A Plan.”
1. No expectations: For years, I resisted my ex’s views about having “no expectations” in relationships. In the past couple of weeks, I realized this “no expectations” he has been preaching for several years is exactly what I want. I want to have the freedom to connect with multiple people without a lot of limitations. I want to allow those relationships to become what they want to become, spontaneously and naturally. I told this to Vegas Guy (see my epic seduction series about him here), and he said that is exactly the right mindset for us possibly to travel in Costa Rica together. Hooray for being on the same page! We both feel so much more relaxed with each other already :)
2. Condoms? God, I do not like condoms. But I must admit until I have conscious power over my fertility (more EFT tapping topics for me), I may start using them again. I do not want to end up pregnant unexpectedly.
3. Living without a plan. Many of us, I want to say especially women, have been conditioned to “sell” our freedom in order to “buy” security. I am convinced this simply does not work long-term. And that we are actually much safer trusting our moment-to-moment intuitive guidance than we are locking ourselves in to jobs, “monogamous” relationships, or just about anything else.
4. Start paying attention to the person you most don’t think you agree with … Like I said, for years I’ve been resisting my ex’s perspective about “no expectations.” I’ve also to some degree been resisting traveling all over the world with almost no possessions. And yet … there is freedom, right? There is someone in your life you most want to avoid, disagree with, fight with, etc., because you think every word that comes out of their mouth is wrong. Start listening to that person. They are probably saying something that you also feel deep down, but have been ignoring. This person is probably here to set you free :)
5. Get off all the hamster wheels. I just paid off all my debts, and I have consciously not put myself in situations where employees (or children) would be dependent on me, or anything else that would restrict my ability to change my lifestyle at will. Don’t buy in to the idea that any hamster wheel is going to get you “security” or “love” or anything else that you want. They are all illusions. They are all prisons. They are all false promises held out to you so that you won’t recognize the simple truth.
Love is freedom. If you have to nail it down to have it, or have someone be financially or physically dependent on you, or have someone promise to “forsake all others until death do us part” … or any other form of “prison” … it’s not worth having in the first place.
Whatever it is that you think you want … If you have to “sell” your freedom to have it, I have one piece of advice: Just say no. You can thank me later ;)
Erika Awakening, High Priestess of Miracles here at TAPsmarter
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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